Cavaliers take care of business on Senior Night

Cavaliers take care of business on Senior Night

Colton DeLong ran for 252 yards and became the 15th player in Carlinville football history to surpass the 1,000 rushing yard ledger for one regular season last Friday. The Cavies defeated Hillsboro, 40-8, on Senior Night and improved to 4-3. Enquirer Democrat photo by Cory Walton.

Colton DeLong becomes the 15th player in CHS

history to rush for 1,000 yards in one regular season

By JACKSON WILSON

Enquirer Democrat Reporter

Carlinville High School’s varsity football team stuck to its proven recipe for success, its powerful rushing attack, in picking up a win on Senior Night Oct. 11.

The 40-8 triumph over the Hillsboro Hiltoppers pushed the Cavies, 4-3,  above .500 for the first time in six weeks and one win away from another postseason berth.

“I think senior night is always an emotional time,” Easterday said. “Sometimes, we get wrapped up in it but I thought our kids took care of business, so to speak. This was a big one for us to get over that hump and kind of put that playoff picture closer in perspective. It really strengthens the importance of the next few weeks for our program.”

Colton DeLong joined an elite group of players during his final regular season contest at CHS Field. In addition to leading the Carlinville High School varsity football team to its third consecutive victory with 252 yards and three touchdown carries, DeLong became just the 15th Cavalier in 100 years to rush for at least 1,000 yards in a single regular season. The Carlinville senior sits 11th on the all-time list (1,231 yards) and will most likely be climbing higher with two regular season games remaining on the schedule.

DeLong wasn’t the only player named ‘Colton’ that attended Friday’s offensive party. Blossoming sophomore Colton Robinson chipped in with three touchdown rushes of his own while racking up 60 total yards on 11 carries.

Hillsboro elected to receive upon winning the coin toss, but was held to a quick three-and-out by the Carlinville defense and forced to punt after just two minutes.

The Cavaliers’ offense got right down to business and put together a 56-yard scoring drive to take an early 7-0 lead six minutes into the game. DeLong rushed for 45 of those yards and Robinson finished the job with a one-yard carry at the goal line. Rosentreter put the extra point down Main Street.

The Hiltoppers began their next drive near midfield on their own 40, but Jace Tuetken was sacked by Rayme Lewis on a quarterback keeper for a two-yard loss. A Hillsboro holding penalty subtracted 10 more yards and made it second-and-20 from the 30. Jonah Harkins was taken down on a rush attempt at the line of scrimmage and the Cavaliers stopped Tuetken 12 yards shy of the first down marker. Carlinville regained possession with exactly four minutes remaining in the first.

The Cavies once again utilized the running game and took the ball from their own 33 all the way to the end zone for another touchdown, highlighted by DeLong’s biggest scoring play of the day – a 23-yard end zone dash on the first play of the second quarter. Rosentreter’s second extra point of the night made it 14-0 with 11:52 to go in the half.

The Hiltoppers responded with a 65-yard touchdown drive.

Starting from the Hillsboro 35, Harkins set up the Hiltoppers near midfield after a couple of carries. Tuetken broke loose for a 45-yard quarterback keeper score and connected with Joey Lipe for a two-point conversion despite Hillsboro having a successful Harkins rush wiped out by a penalty. The Cavaliers’ lead was reduced to 14-8 following the one-and-a-half minute scoring drive, but the defense tightened up after that and held the Hiltoppers scoreless for the remainder of the game.

“That was a turning point,” said Easterday. “We made a mental error on that run, but we made sure to get it corrected at halftime. The kids did another great job absorbing that information and getting it onto the field. These are the kinds of things that we practice and preach. I was glad to see that get done.”

DeLong transported the football from the Carlinville 42 to midfield on a trio of rushes, then scampered to the Hillsboro 35 on a 15-yard gain. A Hiltopper penalty turned an eight-yard push into a 22-yard one for DeLong. The senior captain plowed up the middle for three more yards to the 10 and Robinson helped the Cavies regain a two-score advantage on a 10-yard rush. Rosentreter remained efficient on the extra point. Carlinville led 21-8 with 8:06 remaining in the second quarter.

Hillsboro journeyed from its own 40 to a first down at the Carlinville 38, but committed another 10-yard penalty after Tuetken moved the chains on a successful fourth-and-three carry. Under pressure on first-and-20 at the Carlinville 49, the Hiltoppers fumbled the football and Dustin Roberts fell on it – shifting possession back to the Cavies at the Carlinville 46.

The Cavies lost 10 yards on a penalty of their own, but DeLong quickly cleaned up the mess on a 25-yard pursuit to the Hillsboro 39. DeLong fell inches short of the first on a second-and-eight carry, but Robinson lended a helping hand and picked up the first on a nine-yard carry to the Hillsboro 23. The running back duo worked the ball down to the five-yard line over the course of the next four plays and DeLong put Carlinville in total control with his second touchdown of the day with 1:39 on the clock. Rosentreter’s extra point completed a 21-8 second quarter surge and sent the Cavies to a 28-8 halftime advantage.

Two-and-a-half minutes into the second half, Carlinville was already in the end zone again after being granted starting field position in Hillsboro territory. Needing only 46 yards to tack on to the lead, DeLong hit the red zone following a 29-yard rush on his first carry out of the locker room. An additional 10-yard run by DeLong set up first-and-goal for Robinson, who once again did his job and scored on a six-yard scurry. Rosentreter’s extra point was blocked, but the Cavies had a 32-8 lead. 

Hillsboro put together an eight-minute drive but the Carlinville defense held and forced a turnover on downs at its own 30.

Michael Byots only threw two passes in the game with one completion, but he made it count on a 25-yard strike to Joe Lewis at the Hillsboro 45. This ignited one final scoring drive for the Cavies. DeLong thundered his way to the Hillsboro 26 on another major gain. Robinson carried for a pair of yards. Byots ran a quarterback keeper and advanced the ball to the 12. Three plays later, on fourth-and-six, DeLong weaved around the outside and into the end zone for his third touchdown with less than 10 minutes remaining in the fourth. Rosentreter was unable to kick the extra point due to a misplaced hold.

Carlinville’s junior varsity squad took over and played the final eight minutes.

Ayden Tiburzi completed a 10-yard pass to Mason Duckels, who also collected a pair of tackles on the defensive side.

Regardless of what the statistics showed, Easterday was aware of the energy that his future varsity Cavaliers were providing to the crowd and sideline.

“We have a lot of personnel groupings that run on and off the field all the time to keep confusion,” said Easterday. “I’m proud of them for their composure. Energy-wise and team-wise, they know the importance level of what we’re doing.”

Prior to kickoff, Carlinville High School recognized its fall sports seniors – Ryan Haschemeyer, Reagan Kulenkamp, Mitch Proctor, Avery Kufa, Skylar Anderson, Sydney Leonard, Fuller Anderson, Noah Buford, Sarah DeNeve, R. Lewis, Olivia Oswald, Robert Sawyer Garcia, Mason Schafer, Olivia Turley, Haley Wills, Byots, Clay Crowe, Dylan Cunningham, DeLong, Tyler Emmons, Christian Griffith, Jahraven Johnson, Jack Kessinger, Reid Kleeman, Aidan Naugle, Tyler Reels, Hunter Robinson and Jeffrey Stufflebean.

Carlinville travels to Piasa to take on Southwestern (3-4) Friday, Oct. 18. Game time is 7 p.m.